Roy Hodgson talks up Liverpool’s ‘unstoppable’ Raheem Sterling

England head coach Roy Hodgson is well aware that Raheem Sterling is a player that can inflict "an awful lot of damage"

Roy Hodgson talks up Liverpool’s ‘unstoppable’ Raheem Sterling

Roy Hodgson has given his biggest indication that Raheem Sterling could have a major role to play for England at this summer’s World Cup.

The 19-year-old’s preparations for the major tournament were disrupted mid-week after his reckless challenge on Antonio Valencia resulted in a red card, with the Manchester United man receiving his marching orders after a volatile reaction.

He was unstoppable at times in training, some of the things he did out there were breathtaking and he’s not going to lose any fitness

Roy Hodgson

Sterling was one of the Reds’s most consistent performers in the closing months of the Premier League campaign as the England international scored nine goals and made five assists in 33 top-flight appearances last season.

And England manager Hodgson, who was keen to play down hype surrounding Ross Barkley on Wednesday night, acknowledged Sterling is a player that could do significant damage to the Three Lions’s World Cup opponents.

“He was absolutely gutted to be sent off, as were we, but he doesn’t seem to have taken it to heart,” said Hodgson.

“The most important thing is he’s still making me aware he’s a player who can inflict an awful lot of damage on the opposition. His reaction to the red card has been excellent.

“He was unstoppable at times in training, some of the things he did out there were breathtaking and he’s not going to lose any fitness.

“The dilemma I have is that I have more than 11 players capable of taking the field against Italy but I don’t need to see a performance from Raheem on the field to know he’s capable of playing in the Italy game if selected.

“He is an exceptional talent – along with our other exceptional talents – and what happened on Wednesday wouldn’t stop me. We’ve spoken about it. It happened.

“The blow is he can’t play against Honduras when I’d like to have seen him play. That was a blow to my plans but it doesn’t affect his chances of playing when the tournament starts.”

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